IFF Research Business and Enterprise research services – what we  offer and how we can help your organisation succeed.

How can you use insight from businesses to improve upcoming events and conferences?

The events industry faces a number of challenges. With the ongoing development of technology, it seems more difficult than ever to make a compelling argument for potential delegates to part with their money, give up their time and travel to your latest event. Once coveted insights are now available at the click of a mouse. Webinars, video presentations and live streaming mean that people do not always feel it necessary to attend events in person, and they have begun to forgo traditional methods of networking in favour of connecting via LinkedIn and other online platforms.

So, what is the answer?

The solution is to make sure your event has genuine value to attendees, and to communicate that message effectively. Easier said than done, but audience insight can help –  asking your customers what would add value, what they want to know, how much they are willing to pay, and so on. By discovering what motivates potential delegates to show up for an event, you are more likely to be able to provide them with the best possible reasons to do so.

Many conferences and events are targeted at the corporate world, making companies and business owners an obvious source of potential insight within the event marketing space. Speaking directly to business owners will give you the answers you need to build a more compelling event.

IFF’s Business Spotlight:

At IFF, we speak to 500 UK senior business decision-makers every month, asking them the questions you need answers to in a cost-effective way. As a conference or event organiser, access to this audience could be invaluable, providing you with the insight required to make your event genuinely stand out from the crowd.

We can work with you to develop questions that will deliver useful insight through Business Spotlight, a cost-effective monthly telephone survey to support organisations in their decision-making process. You can add your own specific questions before your next event – find out more by watching our video here.

For our schedule, rate card and FAQs, please visit our Business Spotlight page here. To find out more, please contact Alice:








Alice Large
Associate Director

What is an omnibus survey?

We all know that the findings from research allow us to make better decisions. Knowing more about the potential consequences of our choices reduces the risks involved. And helps us create the most effective strategies – based upon intelligence and insight. The problem is that research takes time and costs money. For those working with tight budgets and limited resources, a significant investment isn’t always a feasible option; yet the fact remains that research is still hugely beneficial. In this scenario, an omnibus survey could be the perfect solution, as it provides a low-cost alternative to commissioning a bespoke survey.

Omnibus survey

An omnibus survey involves a research agency conducting a number of interviews with a specific target group on a regular basis. The survey is conducted on behalf of a number of different organisations, who each pay to join the survey, and add their own questions. This enables all of the participating organisations to share the cost of research overheads.

There are a number of different omnibus survey categories, each targeting different groups, so it is important you consider the audience involved before signing up. One of the most widely used omnibus surveys is a business omnibus. This surveys businesses and business owners, and is the perfect tool for anyone looking to gain a competitive advantage in the B2B space.

Business omnibus

There are many research agencies which provide different types of business omnibus, so you need to make sure you are choosing the right one to suit your needs.

Here are some of the questions you should consider when planning a business omnibus survey:

  • What sort of survey is likely to deliver better quality results – a telephone survey or online panel?
  • Can the research company provide details on sample design and quality?
  • What support do we need?
  • Do they have a rate card?

Our FAQ document, answers all of the most commonly asked questions we receive.

Once you have chosen a reputable research agency, you will need to look at the questions you want to ask your audience. Your research agency should help you with advice on how to structure your questions. The companies who see a real benefit from conducting research are those which ask the right questions in the right way, finding out real insights into what their customers need, so that they are then better informed about how to provide adequate solutions to meet these needs.

Using a business omnibus survey for competitive advantage

Here are a few suggestions about how you can use a business omnibus survey to support your decision-making process in order to gain a competitive advantage:

  • Business decision-making: Is uncertainty over Brexit or the economy going to affect business spending? Are businesses likely to spend less on marketing services over the next 6-12 months? How high is their confidence in the economic future and political stability? Are there any emerging areas of growth or interest?
  • New service: If you are a B2B service provider, you may want to ask businesses if they are happy with their current contractor. Is this service important to them? How much do they spend on a service like this? What would make them change provider? And when are they able to do so?
  • New product: If you are developing a B2B product, you may wish to find out what features and benefits are most important to your audience? Do they have the budget to invest in such a product? How much would they be willing to spend? What would make them more receptive to finding out more?
  • Marketing/PR: You may wish to measure awareness of a recent campaign. Or test messaging you’re considering for future campaigns. Or be looking for ideas and angles to create interesting stories to share with the media.
  • Legislation/regulations: A government agency, membership body or association may wish to find out if businesses are aware of changes to legislation or regulations relating to the industry that they operate within, and what levels of support they have in terms of dealing with such changes. What support or additional information do they need to be able to comply?

Business Spotlight

Every month, IFF’s Business Spotlight surveys 500 business owners across the UK by telephone. You can find out more by watching our video here.

For our schedule, rate card and FAQs, please visit our Business Spotlight page here.

To find out more about, please contact Matt

Matt Barnes

How can market research reduce commercial risk?

We have all faced difficult decisions in our professional lives. Should we launch a new product or service? Is now a good time to go ahead with that marketing strategy or PR campaign? How confident do you feel about investing in that large capital expenditure project?

To some degree, making decisions is left to gut feel, making outcomes unpredictable and providing us with little in the way of confidence that we will get the result we are looking for. For decisions of low importance, this is okay – but when the stakes are high and we are making choices that come at a significant cost to the business, or which may affect our corporate reputation (either as an organisation or as an individual), it is important that we mitigate that risk as much as possible. And even when we feel well-informed by the information we have to hand, it is often good practice to check its robustness via a credible third party.

So, what can be done to inform and improve decision making, and to provide safeguards against the consequences of making the wrong choices?

Unfortunately, none of us can completely predict the future or fully foresee the outcomes of our choices, no matter how good our planning processes, but decision making can be backed up by professional insights from trusted sources, such as via a reputable market research company. Investing in independent market data and third-party analysis demonstrates to others within your organisation that you have taken reasonable steps to predict the outcome of your decision, and safeguards you against any implicit or explicit accusation of taking an unnecessary or ill-informed risk.

How does commercial insight support the decision-making process?

  • Feedback on strategies and plans: Investing in robust feedback about a strategy or long-term plan can help you to avoid potential pitfalls – and it can lead to lots of fresh insights too that you might not have thought of. You will be assured of the validity of your plans, tactics and strategies by checking them out in advance with a sample of your target audience.
  • Keep abreast of rapid changes in today’s dynamic world: Decisions can be made that take into account how people feel about economic confidence or political uncertainty such as are affected by Brexit and a hung parliament, or environmental trends, social factors and corporate responsibility.
  • Develop content that your clients want to hear about: By speaking directly to your target audience, asking them what is important to them, you can tailor future content and thought leadership pieces.

Why then, with the clear advantages of an insight-led approach to decision making, do so many choose to go it alone?

  • Time: For some, deadlines and the need to act quickly trump the apparent luxury of comprehensive investigation, but this must be measured against the potential consequences of getting a decision wrong. In the long run, following best practice will often prove to be worth the wait, as it will enable you to improve your plans.
  • Cost: This is usually the main obstacle for those considering an investment in commercial insight. Commissioning a bespoke research product can be expensive, and the cost of doing so can often outweigh the perceived benefit, especially for smaller businesses.

Our solution:

With these obstacles in mind, we have developed Business Spotlight, a cost-effective monthly telephone survey to support business decision making. Every month, our business omnibus speaks to 500 business owners across the UK. You can add your questions about your next big commercial decision to our survey in a cost-effective way. You can find out more by watching our video here.

For our schedule, rate card and FAQs, please visit our Business Spotlight page here.

To enquiry about our next wave contact Alice:








Alice Large
Associate Director

Benefits of a telephone survey vs. online panel

Survey research

There is a growing culture of impatience in the modern world. With the development of technology, communications and service standards across the world we are accustomed to getting what we want, when we want it – and why not?

If we can get the output we want now rather than later it makes perfect sense for us to do so, but what if the quality of the output is affected? This is often the case when it comes to research.

In recent years, the emergence of online panels as a quick and ‘cost-effective’ alternative to telephone survey research has seen increased pressure on turnaround and costs at the sacrifice of quality. In this blog, we discuss the benefits of telephone surveys over online panels when conducting business market research.

Telephone survey

As with any project, it is essential that you are speaking to the right people when conducting B2B market research. The reason online panels are able to turn around data more quickly than a telephone survey is because the respondents are pre-recruited to take part in regular rounds of research. Even if you control for characteristics such as size and sector, there is an unseen bias here – people who join online panels and regularly participate are different to the population at large. They are seasoned participants who are conditioned in the way surveys work – and they are taking part because they are being paid to do so. In the case of Business Spotlight, our business omnibus research solution, we guarantee fresh sample data on every wave. Besides, we still turn around results very quickly once the telephone survey stage in the process has been completed.

B2B market research

At IFF Research, we believe in being human first, and we feel that in removing the human element from proceedings you take away a key component of the process when it comes to B2B market research. A skilled telephone interviewer will be able to communicate in a way that puts respondents at ease, picking up information that may otherwise go overlooked or unnoticed.

Online Panels

There is a big difference between something being cost effective and something being cheap. Although a telephone survey will cost a bit more than an online panel, it offers far greater value for money in terms of the quality of output. The quality of output is essential when it comes to business market research, when the findings and insights will have a profound impact on the decision-making process when it comes to policy, planning and strategy.

Business Spotlight

Alice Stratton manages IFF’s Business Spotlight and is responsible for discussing briefs, establishing needs and agreeing budgets – if you would like to find out more about our business omnibus telephone surveys, please contact her to discuss your requirements in more detail. She will explain all the various options we offer to achieve your commercial goals.








Alice Stratton
Associate Director

Conducting B2B market research on a small budget

B2B Market Research

Assessing the opinions of businesses can be a difficult and costly exercise. The emergence of online research as a low-cost solution means that market data is now more accessible than ever before – but this often comes at the sacrifice of quality. To help you through the plethora of options available, we have identified several areas to consider when conducting B2B market research on a limited budget.

Sample design and audience quality

There are plenty of cheap, quick turnaround providers who will promise you the world but ultimately leave you short changed. When assessing the options, you will need to look at sample design and gauge the quality of the audience. Be cautious of online panels, which can be made up from individuals who are often paid to take part in research and are canvassed repeatedly by the same research company, which can mean they are likely to respond differently to the group you are trying to speak to.

Market research company: Who to choose?

Consider the market research company’s background, and look for endorsements from previous clients. Working with a team of skilled, enthusiastic and experienced researchers will help you frame questions in the most effective way, ensuring you get the answers you need. A detailed briefing session and questionnaire design with a trusted provider will usually be enough to get to the heart of what you are looking for.

Flexible data reporting

It’s important to think about how you will need to potentially present your findings to relevant stakeholders. Will it be senior decision-makers or clients and, if so, what is the best way to present this information? Are they analytical people who prefer hard data, or will they respond better to a research report explaining things in a bit more detail, supported by graphical materials to visually explain the data? All of this will have an impact on the time it will take to package your findings and the amount it is appropriate to pay for the work. Some agencies may not have the flexibility to offer alternative reporting solutions, so it is important that your needs in this respect are discussed upfront to avoid complications down the line.

Cost effective solutions: Business omnibus

We have developed Business Spotlight to solve the need for businesses looking for high quality research at an affordable price. IFF’s Business Spotlight is a business omnibus service – a business omnibus is a type of research tool which allows several organisations to ask their own questions within the same survey, providing them with reliable data in a more-cost effective way than investing in a fully bespoke survey.

Telephone survey

Unlike online panels, our business omnibus is a telephone survey, which means that the quality of data is more reliable. Business Spotlight helps organisations to access a representative sample of 500 senior people with decision-making authority from a wide cross-section of the UK business community. None of them are paid to take part, and we rarely speak to the same business on more than one occasion, so you can be sure that the results are unbiased in this respect.

Business Spotlight

Alice Large is responsible for discussing briefs, establishing needs and agreeing budgets – please contact her to discuss your research requirements in more detail. She will explain the options available to achieve your goals.








Alice Stratton
Associate Director

UK regulations and business success

A report exploring businesses’ views on regulation in the UK has been published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The findings from this report were informed by work carried out by IFF Research in February and March 2016 as part of an ongoing biennial survey of 2,000 UK businesses.

Business opinion has been tracked for almost 10 years as part of this programme outlining which elements of regulation and the regulatory delivery are most burdensome to businesses and exploring where businesses get their advice on complying with regulation.

We have outlined some of the key information from the report below:

  • Half of businesses (49%) reported that they felt UK regulations presented an obstacle to business success (although this figure has gradually decreased over time).
  • Three-fifths (59%) agreed that the time taken to comply with regulation was a burden on their business.
  • The most important factor in encouraging businesses to comply with regulation is maintaining their reputation with customers.
  • On average, businesses spent £8,550 every year on external business agents to help them comply with regulation.
  • Their views of the Government’s approach to regulation were somewhat mixed
    – half (49%) agreed that they found the purpose of regulation clear.
    – only a third (35%) found most regulation to be fair and proportionate.
    – 19% felt that the Government consults well with business before introducing new regulation or changing existing regulation.

The full report and data can be accessed here: Link to full report